On a recent Sunday morning dozens of South Sudanese refugees gathered inside a tent at Imvepi Refugee Camp to thank God for enabling them to found a new church.
The new Pentecostal church was partly made possible by a new app that links preachers to Bible translations and theological resources from which they can prepare sermons and teach congregants about their faith.
“It’s a new dawn for refugees,” said Pastor Chol Mayak, 48, a father of four who recently attended a training on the app. “We are going to train other refugees so that they can open more churches and spread the gospel across the camps.”
The eVitabu app was developed by Jonathan Haddock and Michael Berry, who are members of Canterbury Baptist Church in the United Kingdom. The app was launched in 2018 by the African Pastors Fellowship. The group provides pastors with durable solar-powered Android tablets that have the app pre-installed, turning the device into an engine for spiritual and pastoral growth.
The digital library has done much to replace the reference books many South Sudanese churches lost to the tumult of the country’s civil war. Mayak, of the Soul Pentecostal Church, fled Yei, a town in South Sudan’s southwest, after government forces attacked setting fire to his church and his congregants’ homes. All of the church’s Bibles were lost along with the pastor’s books. He has been unable to continue with his ministry since.
Alex Sokiri, who recently planted a church in Morobi refugee camp, was able to do so only after being trained on how to use the eVitabu app.
Sokiri and his wife, Harriet, lost all their possessions after militants raided residents of Kajo Keji in South Sudan in July of 2016. “It was hard to encourage people who were disturbed and traumatized because of the civil war,” he said. “There were no Bibles in the camp and we had lost everything in South Sudan. I told members of our church to continue to pray so that God opens a way.”
Sokiri can browse and download from the library for the lessons he uses to teach and support other pastors and congregations in the camps.
“The app provides information on how to plant a church, offer counseling and farming. It’s changing the lives of refugees.” (RNS)
How to Pray:
Pray South Sudan will see an end to the tumult and violence.
Pray the pastors and churches at Imvepi Refugee Camp will continue to seek comfort and peace in Christ and spread His love to those around them. (TAB)